'CRYPTONOMICON' CRACKS THE CHARTS
Avon's new hardcover fiction bestseller is a massive 928-page read that combines such unlikely subjects as cryptography, high-tech commerce and a treasure hunt. Reviews for Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon have been stellar (a starred PW called the book "one of the most extravagant literary creations of the turn of the millennium"); the author's highly praised earlier books -- Snow Crash and The Diamond Age -- have made him one of this decade's major cyberpunk novelists. Stephenson is in the midst of a five-week, 16-city tour scheduled to end in Minneapolis on June 5. Bookseller promotion included a Cryptonomicon "key card" that guided users to an encrypted message allowing them to access an early look at the book on the Web. Avon noted that so many users came to the site that it crashed in the first days. No matter, the publisher has also been crashing more trips to press; after five printings, the in-print total is 85,000.
DON'T PREY FOR SANFORD
Putnam and Berkley are once again enjoying a strong run on the lists with thriller author John Sanford (a pseudonym for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp). His latest hardcover, Certain Prey, is the 10th novel in the Prey series and has more than 325,000 copies in print. Berkley's mass market edition of #9, Secret Prey, has 1,350,000 copies in print after three trips to press. Sanford is finishing up a 15-city booksigning and publicity tour; publisher Putnam notes there have been capacity crowds at all events.
CLANCY STORMS THE LIST
Tom Clancy is back on the charts with his second nonfiction military book. Every Man a Tiger was written with General Chuck Horner, who commanded all U.S. and allied air assets during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1997, Clancy's Into the Storm: A Study in Command, written with General Fred Franks (Ret.), stayed on the national charts for about two months. Clancy and Horner recently did a nine-city tour that included events at bookstores and on military bases. Publicity highlights included appearances on Today, Charlie Rose and Larry King. Copies in print of the Putnam title total 400,000.
THE SKINNY ON SOMERS
Actress Suzanne Somers hit the bestseller charts with her first book, Suzanne Somers' Eat Great, Lose Weight, which publisher Crown notes has sold close to 600,000 hardcover copies since its February 1997 publication. As huge a hit as it was, it never went higher than #7 on the PW charts. Her latest, Suzanne Somers' Get Skinny on Fabulous Food hits our #1 spot this week, with 200,000 copies in print. (And the trade paperback edition of Eat Great hits the list as well, with 175,000 copies in print.) While Somers did a 50-city satellite tour for her new book and appeared on several national TV shows (including Rosie and CBS This Morning), her sales spike is credited to her May 10 appearance on Leeza. Still to come is Regis and Kathie Lee on June 10.
A number of novels percolating below the top 15 are faring much better on the bestseller charts that reflect sales at independents. Three that have been enjoying top-10 placings include The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie from Holt (which did enjoy a one-week run on PW's list); For the Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander from Knopf; and Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx from Scribner. Rushdie's book is up to 115,000 copies in print; Englander's critically acclaimed first short-story collection has 50,500 copies in print after six printings; and the short-story collection by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Proulx has 88,000 after three trips to press.
COSBY ON COMMENCEMENTS
Hyperion has another bestseller hit, with a little bit of help from Oprah. In his Congratulations! Now What? A Book for Graduates, Bill Cosby states that one of his hobbies is giving commencement speeches (he had seven scheduled for this month). Media appearances have included Rosie, Letterman, Today and Regis &Kathie Lee. But a full hour on Oprah (May 13) about the work Cosby and his wife, Camille, do on behalf of education certainly did the bestseller trick.